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Toledo looking for new ways to tackle blight

Published: Mar. 24, 2021 at 11:03 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Toledo is looking at new ways to tackle the mess.

A new report on Toledo’s code enforcement is addressing new ways the city can enforce its laws while focusing on the ones that will really clean up neighborhoods and make the city an attractive place to live.

Dilapidated, run-down homes dot too many Toledo neighborhoods, and for years the goal has been trying to clean them up. That plan is getting a second set of eyes, and there are ways it could be changed.

When trying to nail down some of Toledo’s housing issues, there are plenty to pick. Department of Neighborhoods Director Rosalyn Clemens cites rental properties, some of which aren’t kept well.

“There are no rental property standards. No rental property standards you can hang up your shingle, you can rent. There are no annual inspections, there are no annual licensing requirements,” said Clemens.

A new report on Toledo’s housing and blight issues was unveiled to Toledo City Council members Tuesday. Consultants noted that Toledo has resources to help homeowners but there are issues.

“There are some great programs but it’s extremely fragmented. Teeny, little programs, each with a different goal,” said Karen Black with the Center for Community Progress.

The data from Black and the Center for Community Progress shows most homeowners with problems simply cannot afford to fix the issue. So finding them resources and treating them equitably would be better than treating every property owner equally in terms of fines and citations.

“The most equitable and efficient way to achieve the primary goal of code enforcement is to design a program the prioritizes providing residents sufficient knowledge and resources need to bring properties into compliance,” said Matt Kreis with the Center for Community Progress.

Toledo’s Neighborhood Department will now put a working group together to discuss this report and figure out how to streamline a system that has seen fewer staff members and budgets over the last few years, but a larger workload.

“When people come to look at our city to locate their manufacturing plant or locate their office space and they drive around the neighborhoods, the conditions of blight and what they see is a big factor is making the decisions,” said Clemens.

What also factor into all this are the dollars from the American Rescue Act from the federal government. Toledo will get $188 million. Many times those dollars were mentioned at the meeting to potentially give homeowners the resources to make those repairs.

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